Yoko Ono announced yesterday that the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention’s Barbara Kowalcyk, who was featured in the 2009 documentary Food Inc., will be awarded the LennonOno Grant for Peace at an awards ceremony to be held in Iceland in October.  Ono established the biannual award in 2002 to honor John Lennon’s dedication to peace and his commitment to human rights.

“I am deeply honored that my work in food safety is being recognized by Yoko Ono,” said Kowalcyk, the center’s co-founder and Director of Food Safety.

“More importantly,” Kowalcyk continued, “This award focuses international attention on the fundamental importance of food safety to a healthy civil society in the United States and globally. Recent events, including this summer’s massive egg recall, and the global nature of our food supply highlight the need for a new approach that integrates human, animal and environmental health to provide a more holistic and sustainable approach to food and food safety.”

Kowalcyk and her family have been food safety advocates since the death of her son, Kevin, in 2001 from an E. coli O157:H7 infection.  Kowalcyk said that by founding the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention they have been able to move forward.  “… through research, education, advocacy, and service–in developing new analytical insights and identifying science-based solutions that will help protect public health and meet the food challenges of the 21st Century.”

Kowalcyk will receive the award in Iceland on October 9, the date that would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.  Kowalcyk will join Ono to light the Imagine Peace that will remain aglow until December 8, the anniversary of Lennon’s death.